I know an amazing little guy. He’s bright, kind and hilarious. His eyes sparkle with excitement when he pokes his head in my classroom door and asks in his innocent voice, “Can I come in today?”
We have an arrangement, my friend and me, that he can come visit anytime he wants as long as I don’t have a class. Yeah, some days he’s a little pesky while I am frantically trying to accomplish the millions of little tasks asked of an elementary teacher. Luckily, God has given me a crazy love for the underdogs so I almost always welcome him in with a smile.
The world is definitely stacked against my little man. I don’t know much about his home life, just that he’d rather not talk about it. Yet I see the pain in his eyes when he asks me for hug and I feel the struggle as he holds on and doesn’t let go, sometimes for a full minute.
a competitor thought to have little chance of winning a fight or contest. Long shot, dark horse, little guy, David.a person who has little status in society.
Do you ever feel like the world is stacked against you? Like no matter what you do, you’ll never be able to get out of debt, beat an addiction, or overcome your circumstances? Are you afraid to put hope in anything because you expect that it won’t work out somehow?
I’ve spent much of my life as the underdog and I’ve found over and over that the hardest part is keeping hope alive. If you’re struggling today, here is what God has taught me about making it through the worst days:
1. Talk to the most positive & encouraging people in your life.
Ask them to meet you for coffee and just be with them. If you’re looking for more good people, join a community group! Find a church or check meetups.com for thousands of groups in your area.
2. Get in the presence of God.
Open your bible, podcast a sermon, turn on some positive music, read a beautiful book about God or do whatever you have to do to get in a church or out in nature. Even if it feels like the last thing you want to do, just go. Get out of the darkness of being alone and be somewhere where you can hear the hope and promise of God!
3. Write a Thank You Note
Often the source of discouragement stems from the enemy skewing our view, hiding our eyes from the true blessings that completely surround us. One of the biggest weapons we have to fight back is the sword of gratitude – thanking God for every single thing we do have. Start a journal, write a thank you note, send a small just thinking of you gift and watch your attitude lighten.
4. Make one healthy decision immediately
Get outside for a walk or maybe get your butt to a yoga class. Drink some water. Consider making a delicious and healthy meal. When you’re feeling down about life don’t reach for comfort food or a chemical to make you feel better – those comforts fade. Make one positive choice that future you will be thankful for.
5. Create Something
Beat your funk by making something that expresses how you feel. Could be writing, drawing, painting, music, furniture, a scrap book, a backyard zoo… the sky’s the limit. Find a creative outlet to express your emotions.
6. Change Your Scenery
If you’re really spiraling, change your surroundings. Get outside or to a friends house, go to the park or take a weekend getaway. I have also found physical changes like painting a room, organizing, and cleaning really help me as well.
7. Focus on your Goals and Your Bucket List
When life seems hopeless, get out a list of things you’ve always wanted to do and start chasing them. Even if you can’t check something off, take out the list and review it – see what you can do in the here and now. Focus on hope for the future if today seems less that extraordinary.
8. Accept That It’s Okay to Not be Okay Sometimes.
Check in with your happiness expectations. The truth is, no one is 100% happy every single second of every single day. Happiness is an emotion, like being hungry that comes and goes faster than the latest offensive statement by Donald Trump. Understand that it’s okay if life isn’t perfect, but keep fighting for the life you always dreamed of.
You see, when my little guy comes to visit, my heart swells with love for the fight he’s fighting and I know that is how God feels about you and me. Yes, he has it way harder than most kids and he knows it, yet he’s forging ahead. He’s doing his homework, he’s working on making great choices and he isn’t afraid to ask for help when he needs it.
He’s an overcomer and so are you.
God is so proud of the fight you are fighting. Forget the “this isn’t fair,” and thank Him for the blessings you do have. Focus on the positive and take small steps to improve your existence.
Today I challenge you to fight back against your discouragement and choose to be a lighthouse for those struggling around you. Accept that not every season is going to be sunshine and rainbows, but that you have a choice to be recklessly alive each and everyday. You might be the underdog but God is at work in your life, even when you can’t see it.
Take a deep breath and keep your head up. You’ve got this, you’ve totally got this. You can make it out. Start by choosing hope my friend. Believe.
What do you do in times of discouragement? How can I pray for you? Leave a comment below.